Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Friday, November 16, 2018

'Stop talking so much about democracy'

To understand the importance of such subordinate elites, look back to the Cold War's early days when a desperate White House was searching for something, anything that could halt the seemingly unstoppable spread of what Washington saw an anti-American and pro-communist sentiment.

In December 1954, the NSC [National Security Council] met in the White House to stake out a strategy that could tame the powerful nationalist forces of change then sweeping the globe. Across Asia and Africa, a half-dozen European empires that had guaranteed global order for more than a century were giving way to new nations, many--as Washington saw it--susceptible to "communist subversion." In Latin America, there were stirrings of leftist opposition to the region's growing urban poverty and rural landlessness.

To make it "absolutely clear we will not tolerate Communism anywhere in the Western Hemisphere," influential Secretary of the Treasury George Humphrey advised his NSC colleagues that they should "stop talking so much about democracy" and instead "support dictatorships of the right if their policies are pro-American." At that moment, Dwight Eisenhower interrupted to observe, with a flash of strategic insight, that Humphrey was, in effect, saying: "They're OK if they're 'our' s.o.b.'s." The secretary agreed, adding: "Whatever we may choose to say in public about ideas and idealism, among ourselves we've got to be a great deal more practical and materialistic."

It was a moment to remember. The president had just articulated, with crystalline clarity, the system of global dominion that Washington would implement for the next fifty years--setting aside democratic principles for a tough realpolitik policy of backing any reliable leader who backed us, building a worldwide network of national (and often nationalist) leaders who would nonetheless put Washington's needs above local ones. To consolidate its dominion, Washington would build a worldwide system of subordinate elites that became nothing less than an Archimedean lever to shift the globe in its direction.

~ Alfred McCoy, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power


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